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Nagpur Test: Kohli double, Rohit ton pummel Sri Lanka | Cricket News

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NEW DELHI: India enjoyed yet another day of inflicting straight-up domination over Sri Lanka with the bat. Leading the assault was Virat Kohli, who continued his sublime form in 2017 by notching up a fifth double century in Tests and playing enforcer on Day 3 of the Nagpur Test. If that wasn’t enough to cause enough wear and tear of Sri Lanka’s morale, Rohit Sharma inflicted more punishment, celebrating his return to the Test team with a third Test hundred.


Kohli continues stellar form, scores 5th double century

India’s quest for quick runs, that began a day ago, was pioneered by its skipper, who forged two century partnerships – first with Cheteshwar Pujara and later Rohit. In the final session, Virat and Rohit shifted gears to score 103 runs in 20 overs and with Rohit’s ton, India declared at 610/6, setting Sri Lanka 405 to avoid innings defeat. To make matters worse, Sri Lanka’s tired bodies and minds came to the fore in the first over, when Sadeera Samarawickrama shouldered arms to a delivery that pitched on off-stump and was castled by Ishant Sharma. The remaining eight overs had plenty of swing and spin, but Dimuth Karunaratne and Lahiru Thirimanne safely saw them off.


Nagpur Test, Day 3, As it happened

Kohli’s first hundred runs were his second consecutive of the series and fourth this year, making him the first captain to score 10 international hundreds in a year. He also surpassed Sunil Gavaskar for the most by an Indian captain – 12. He was busy from the moment he resumed, depicted by a stunning cover drive in the first over off Suranga Lakmal. Sri Lanka attempted to make him prod outside off, but a deteriorating surface that now has plenty of cracks, did not possess much threat. Kohli milked them for boundaries either side of the wicket to bring up his century in 130 balls. Shuffling well between middle and leg, Kohli was particularly immaculate in clipping the loose balls off his pads.

Once play resumed post tea, Kohli went into overdrive. There was urgency in Rohit and Kohli’s stand of 173. It was almost as if Kohli was tonking in his daunting T20 mode and Rohit in ODI. The front foot pull and a swat off fast bowlers were indications. With a drive to long-on, Kohli tied the great Brian Lara for the most number of double centuries as a captain. The Indian skipper also recorded the most number of international centuries in a year by a captain. Kohli, who now has 10 centuries across the three formats, surpassed former Australian captain Ricky Ponting (9) and former South African skipper Graeme Smith (9). Quite impressive names.

India went relatively slow in the morning, or so it seemed. Pujara’s approach, who did not score off his first 22 balls this morning and crawled to 142 from his overnight score of 121, may have hampered India’s plans of going for runs with eight wickets intact, but Kohli’s impressive strike-rate of over 75 kept India ticking and they managed 98 at the time of lunch. Pujara’s role wasn’t to be the aggressor. It has never been. He’s always been one to build the foundation, and here he did exactly that. He created an ideal scenario for Ajinkya Rahane, whose average in India is a stark contrast to what his numbers show while away. But a half-hearted cut shot saw him perish and give Dilruwan Perera his first wicket.

Rangana Herath had plenty of turn on offer – there were a few that went past the bat – but just not threatening enough for either batsman to induce any error. And that dropped their shoulders. Shoddy efforts on the field were alarming examples. Then out of the blue, Dasun Shanaka’s yorker beat Pujara’s improbable defence for 143 but not before he had become the quickest to go past 3000 runs for India. Somehow, the wicket wasn’t enough to lift Sri Lanka. Last over of the session, Kohli drove the ball down, and Dinesh Chandimal got across from mid-on, only to make a mess of it.

Rahane’s dismissal soon after lunch allowed India to chip away with runs. Kohli was joined by a Rohit Sharma, and playing his first innings of this year and after 13 months, he was fluent and positive. His footwork to spinners was phenomenal. He danced down to Herath and Perera and lofted them effortlessly over their heads. So did Kohli, and together they anchored India’s search of quick runs. Rohit’s ton was equally delightful to watch as his captain’s. The only time when he looked circumspect was when he was approaching his half-century – on 49 he played 11 dot balls before taking a single to cover. His next 50 though, came off just 61 balls and were laced with some exquisite shots. He drilled Perera down the ground and whipped Lakmal for four towards fine leg.

Kohli departed for 213 when he lofted offspinner Dilruwan Perera in the air but was unable to clear the boundary where Lahiru Thirimanne was stationed. At the time of his dismissal, India’s lead was 22 short of 400. Ashwin tried to push the scoring but was bowled, but a set Rohit was able to register his first century in four years anyhow. Only the third time that four Indian batsmen registered centuries in a Test innings.

Brief scores: India 610/6 decl. (Kohli 213*, Rohit 100*; Perera 3/202) ahead of Sri Lanka 21/1 and 205 all out by 384 runs.

Updated: November 26, 2017 — 4:35 pm

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